Adding clips to the timeline

Most types of Library asset can be brought onto the timeline as independent clips. The types include video and audio clips, photos, graphics, Scorefitter songs, Montage and Titles. You can even add your other movie projects as container clips that work just like video clips in your project. Disc projects, however, cannot be added as container clips to a timeline, since they require a capability – user interactivity – that timeline clips don’t have.


Drag-and-drop is the commonest and usually the most convenient method of adding material to a project. Click any asset in the Movie Editor’s compact view of the Library and drag it wherever you like on the timeline.

When crossing into the timeline area during the drag and continuing to the target track, watch for the appearance of a vertical line under the mouse pointer. The line indicates where the first frame of the clip would be inserted if dropped immediately. The line is drawn in green if the drop would be valid, and red if it would not be possible to insert a clip where indicated (because the track is protected, for example).

It is possible to insert multiple clips into the timeline at the same time. Simply select the desired Library assets, then drag any one of them to the timeline. The sequence in which the clips appear on the track corresponds to their ordering in the Library (not the order in which you selected them).

Magnet mode: By default, magnet mode is switched on. This makes it easier to insert clips so that their edges meet exactly. The new clip snaps to certain positions, like the ends of clips or the positions of markers, as if drawn by a magnet once the mouse pointer gets close to the potential target.

On the other hand, don’t worry about whether the first clip is right at the start of the timeline. Not every movie starts with a hard cut to the first scene!

Live editing preview

In order to eliminate the confusion created by complex editing situations, Avid Studio provides a full dynamic preview of the results of editing operations as you drag clips around on the timeline. If things seem to jump around a bit more than you’re used to during timeline editing, this is the cause. Don’t worry: you will quickly get used to and learn to take advantage of the extra information provided. Take it slowly at first. Watch the changes on the timeline as you hover the dragged item over various possible landing places, and complete the drop when you see the result you want.

If it turns out that drag-and-drop isn’t working the way you want, either press Esc or move the mouse pointer out of the timeline area and release the button. Either of these abandons the drag-and-drop operation. To call back a drag-and-drop after it’s complete, press Ctrl+Z or click the undo button.

Don’t forget that you can vary many timeline editing operations with alternative mode: just press and hold Alt while dragging or trimming. In a one-for-one clip replacement (see “Replacing a clip”, below), Shift is also significant.

Advanced drag-and-drop

After you have assembled an assortment of clips on a timeline track, it’s only matter of time before you want to start changing things around. For instance, you might want to:

·    Fill a gap with clips.

·    Insert some clips before a specific clip.

·    Replace a clip already on the timeline with a different one.

The smart editing mode helps you achieve any of these goals with ease.

Filling a gap

Smart mode makes it simple to fill a particular timeline gap with new material, for example. Rather than having to painstakingly pre-trim the new material to the space available, you simply drag items into the gap. Any clips that are not needed for filling the gap will be dropped, and the last clip used will automatically be trimmed to the appropriate length. No clips already on the timeline are affected, so no synchronization problems can result.

Inserting clips

Suppose that your goal is to add new material to the timeline at a point where there is an existing clip. You don’t want the clip already there to be overwritten, however; you just want it (and any clips to its right) to move rightwards far enough to make room for the new material.

Here again, smart editing provides a painless answer. Simply drag the new material to the start of the clip that is in the way, rather than into a gap. The clip moves aside exactly as far as necessary.

Inserting with split

If you drop an item onto the middle of an existing clip, rather than at a cut, the clip will be split. The new material is inserted at the point you specified, and is followed immediately by the displaced portion of the original clip.

In smart mode, synchronization of the target track with all other tracks is maintained by inserting in each of them a gap of length equal to the new clip. To avoid affecting the other tracks in this way, use insert instead of smart mode. Alternatively, pressing Alt as you drop the new material will cause it to overwrite a portion of the existing clip. A third approach is to lock any track that should not be modified, although this will affect the synchronization of clips on locked tracks with those on unlocked tracks.

Replacing a clip

To replace a clip, drag a single Library asset onto the clip you want to replace while holding down Shift. The replacement clip will inherit any effects and transitions that were applied to the original clip. Corrections are not inherited, however, since they are usually meant to address the issues of a particular media item.

In smart mode, the replace operation will succeed only if the Library clip is long enough to cover the full length of the clip being replaced. In other modes a Library clip of insufficient length will be extended using over-trimming. The direction and amount of the extension is based on your mouse position as you drag.

If the Library asset is longer than needed, it will be truncated to the same length as the clip being replaced.

Sending to the timeline

In addition to dragging a clip to the timeline, you can ‘send’ it to the default track at the position of the play line. The operation is equivalent to drag-and-drop, so smart mode is applied accordingly when deciding how other clips will be affected.

The Send to timeline command is found on the context menu of an individual asset or multiple selection in the compact view of the Library.

Sending from the Player

There is also a second ‘send’ method that provides greater control.

If you click on a Library asset when working in the Movie Editor, the Player switches to Source mode for previewing. For trimmable media (video and audio), the Player also provides trim calipers for cutting out a starting or ending portion of the asset.

Avid Studio image001 Adding clips to the timeline

Clicking the Send To Timeline button in the Player after trimming a Library video asset.

After previewing the asset and trimming it if required, use the send to timeline button at the bottom left of the Player. As usual, the asset is added to the project on the default track and at the play line. A useful variation is to drag the send to timeline button itself onto the timeline track. The asset is then added at the drop point rather than at the play line.

Adding clips to the timeline